Forging a career at sea

In the maritime industry, demand has never been greater for attracting high quality talent that will help drive the future of shipping.

Here at V., our world class Global Cadet Program has been developed to equip the talent of tomorrow with the skills and qualifications to successfully embark upon a career at sea.

To gain a greater insight into how the program achieves this, we caught up with cadet Ethan Gray to find out what attracted him to the world of shipping, hear about his aims and objectives, and discover what he’s learnt during his cadetship so far…

Why did you decide to apply for V.’s cadet programme? 

The reason for joining the cadet programme is very simple – I love the idea of working at sea. It is a unique career path that sets me apart from the rest of my friends and family, and gives me the opportunity to expand my skills and knowledge as a seafarer, as well as allowing me to utilise some of those skills ashore.

Who would turn down a job that allows you to travel the world, see new places, and immerse yourself in different global cultures?

How long have you been enrolled and what have you learned so far? 

I have been with V. for 3 years now. I started my cadetship in August 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which came with its own challenges. Since then I have learned the vital role that a Navigating Officer plays in the Merchant Navy, as well as studying a range of topics including Navigational Mathematics, Celestial Navigation, Ship Construction and Stability, Meteorology, and Radio Communications.

Each subject has presented its own challenges, and with support from V. it has allowed me to surpass all the expectations that I set out for myself.

What drew you towards embarking upon a career at sea? 

From a young age I have always been involved in the marine industry in one way or another. At the age of ten I joined my local Sea Cadet unit where I learned the very basics of rope work, chartwork, and general seamanship. I stayed with the Sea Cadets until I aged out at 18. Afterwards I took employment at home within the retail sector, but I knew deep down that my ambitions and heart were with the sea.

Following this I began research on how to enter the maritime industry and I came across many UK cadet programmes. I had a good friend who was already on his cadetship with V., and he always used to tell me of his experiences during his cadetship, whether it was at sea or even at college doing the coursework. Consequently I got in touch with the cadetship team at V. and I was given an interview. This proved successful, and so began my journey towards becoming a Navigation Officer.

What are your career aims and objectives? 

Like many cadets, their aspirations are to one day take command of a vessel as Captain. I too share this aspiration, and hope that one day my name will be on the muster list as “Master”.

I have often looked ahead to the future too, and I have asked myself if and when I will come ashore and what will I do? I like the idea of becoming a marine superintendent or fleet manager and maybe even a cadet manager, so I can assist future cadets in their journey in the merchant navy.

What would you say to someone considering applying to V.’s cadet programme? 

I would encourage people who are considering applying to V. to have an open mind as this industry is full of opportunity, and to take one step at a time and keep focussed.

I will admit that there are pressures, but the company is always on hand to help shape and guide you in the right way.

I would personally urge new cadets to enjoy every moment of their training, as the 3-year course is structured to enable each individual to develop their skills, knowledge, and understanding of the maritime industry.

Ethan is featured in the December 2023 edition of Way Point, available here